This week: The thrill of the new
Starting a new project is a lot like the beginning of a whirlwind romance. When you meet somebody new, there are the belly butterflies, you want to spend all your time with them, and it’s impossible to think about anything or anybody else. A quiet sort of madness takes over, and it’s the same with writing.
It’s been a week since Ruins, book two of The Sentinel Trilogy, was published (more on that here) and I feel like I’ve just been through a rough break-up. Ruins pushed me and my writing abilities to their limit – by the time I got round to draft six, I was pretty sick of the sight of it.
With a few months’ perspective, I can see it’s not all that bad, and I’m pretty proud of what I managed to do with the story. But now that the release day excitement has died down, I’m left with a weird sense of bereavement. Ruins has dumped me and gone on to a new life beyond the limits of my control.
The only way to get over a break-up? Meet somebody new. That’s why I’ve enthusiastically thrown myself into a couple of new writing projects, all of which I’m giddy with excitement over. The first, naturally, is the as-yet-untitled third book in The Sentinel Trilogy. I started outlining it last year during the redrafting stage of Ruins and I’ve been putting off actually starting writing it for a number of reasons.
Firstly, when it’s perfect in your head, you get scared of it becoming imperfect when you put it on the page. At the moment, in my swiss-cheese brain, Sentinel #3 is the best book I’ve ever written. It’s epic, it’s poignant, it’s full of heart-stopping action. I know that when I start writing it, though, I’ll be confronted with plot holes and leaps in logic that I missed during planning. And those things are both fun AND painful to figure out.
The other problem is that all-consuming ecstasy of starting something new. Once I start writing Sentinel #3, don’t phone, don’t write, don’t even talk to me in the street. I’ll become a single-minded zombie whose sole purpose is to get that thing onto the page no matter what. I’ll eat, sleep, drink, bathe and dance Sentinel #3 for as long as it takes to finish the first draft. Which will probably be about a year. That’s a long time to be out of action.
Then there’s that crippling doubt that comes with starting something new. What if I’ve forgotten how to write? What I can’t put down a decent sentence to save my life? What if I’ve lost touch with the characters? What if what if what if…! Honestly, it’s exhausting.
The best way to get over all of that? JUST WRITE. Today, I chucked the cat outside, made myself a coffee, sat down and wrote for an hour. And you know what? I got 1,000 words out of my head. Granted, they aren’t all beautiful, but they’re WORDS. And I wrote them. The only way to beat inactivity is to get active. Don’t overthink it, just do it (to pinch a marketing sell from a well-known sports brand).
So yes, the thrill of the new. On top of starting Sentinel #3, I’ve also begun work on a top secret Sentinel spin-off project that’s both terrifying and thrilling. I’m 4k into it and already I can’t think about anything else. There are belly butterflies and I want to spend all my time on it. Which, when it comes down to it, isn’t a bad thing after all, right?
Past Wednesday Warbles:
- Beta readers
- The necessary evil that is ‘planning’
- That’s a wrap! Ish…
- Writing a sequel
- Do readers really need spoon-feeding?
- Routine? What routine?
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